Some chefs pair food with wine. Dante Boccuzzi pairs food with rock 'n' roll. Every career high for this Michelin star chef comes with a musical counterpart.
During a stint at New York City's famed Aureole restaurant, he jammed out at Lollapalooza. At Silks in the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco, he cooked for Bruce Springsteen. As executive chef at Nobu Milan, he met Eric Clapton.
Boccuzzi's work has earned two James Beard Foundation Rising Star nominations. He credits celebrity chef Charlie Palmer as his main culinary mentor. Palmer hired Boccuzzi after he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and encouraged him to travel abroad for more experience. He did, working in top-notch kitchens in Italy, France, England, China and Taiwan.
After 16 years of rocking and chopping around the globe, the Parma, Ohio, native returned to Cleveland. He opened his signature restaurant, DANTE in 2007. And, oh yes, attended a Police reunion concert.
Great food, like great music, depends on a mix of technique and heart, says Boccuzzi, who's also a rock and blues guitarist and singer.
At Ginko in Tremont, Boccuzzi flexes some of the sushi skills he learned under Japanese master Nobu Yuki Matsuhisa. At DANTE, also in Tremont, guests can go big or small, from a multi-course chef's menu to inexpensive small tastings of pasta or risotto.
Boccuzzi also operates Dante's Inferno (pizza) in the Flats East Bank, dba in Akron (modern American) and the D.C. Pasta Company in Strongsville (housemade Italian). Additionally, he runs a casual trattoria serving brunch and lunch called Dante Next Door in Tremont.
Sure, you can play it safe at DANTE. Don’t. Dive into a salad with no fewer than seven vegetables, toss back Hong Kong style mussels and savor duck confit. Vegan? Nom through the stuffed roasted pumpkin. Don’t let the simply presented menu deceive you, these are some of the most diverse dishes in town and are bursting with flavor. You’ll want to keep coming back again and again and again and again and again (catch our drift?).